Beer named after fire hero Hannah Sparkes

Rob and Sarah Hart
Rob and Sarah Hart

A new locally brewed beer will be named after the woman who was hailed as a hero for helping to dampen down the great fire of Wellingborough.

In July 1738 a fire that started in the top of Silver Street, swept through the town and destroyed 205 houses, outhouses, barns, storehouses and stables.

Hannah Sparkes kept an ale house in Butchers Row, and in order to save her house and many more, she reputedly rallied people to bring up all the beer and ale from her cellar and using beer-soaked blankets thrown on to the thatch, they managed to save the house.

Now, almost 300 years on, the owners of the Wellingborough-based Hart Family Brewers have decided to pay tribute to the borough’s quick-thinking daughter by brewing a beer in her honour.

The Hannah Sparkes Wellingborough Brown Beer will be officially on sale for the first time at the Wellingborough Waendel Beer Festival from May 9 to 11.

A pint of the new ale will be presented to the Mayor of Wellingborough at the town’s museum on the evening of May 7.

Rob Hart, head brewer and director of Harts Family Brewers, said: “We have researched the town’s history and it appears that Hannah Sparkes was rightly celebrated in her day as the heroine of the Great Fire but her fame has faded over the centuries, so now is the time to brew a traditional ale in her honour.

“Having the current mayor to officially launch this and then to have the Wellingborough Chamber of Commerce Beer Festival to allow the general public to have the first taste seemed like the perfect time to raise a glass to this wonderful almost forgotten lady of Wellingborough.”

Hart Family Brewers has also recently released a new golden beer called Hart No.9 which is made with all UK malted barley and wheat and has no artificial preservatives.